Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brrrrrrr!! Help Protect Your Plants from the Cold.

It's gonna get chilly tonight! Here's a few tips for protecting plants when temperatures dip below 32 degrees F:
1) Hopefully, you've brought in any annuals you want to try to overwinter, as well as tropicals such as houseplants, hibiscus, etc. If not, do it before this evening.
2) Cover pansies, blooming camellias, and any plants with tender foliage, and try to do it before dusk. Old blankets and towels are good, sheets aren't bad. DON'T use plastic to cover. Other options: cardboard boxes, paper bags, buckets, newspaper, old nursery pots. (By the way, pansies are cold hardy. They'll just look better if you cover them.)
3)You may need to put up some supports if the weight of the cover threatens to damage the plants, and you may need to secure the coverings to keep wind from blowing them away.
4) If you're really into it, you can rig Christmas lights onto sturdy plants for added warmth and then cover them. Note: LED lights will not work. They don't generate heat.
5) Container plants are more susceptible to cold. Protect them by moving them against the house, preferably on a south or west facing side. Mulch over the top of the soil in the container to protect the roots and huddle the plants together. You can add bales of straw around them for more insulation. If the tops of the plants have blooms, like camellias, or tender foliage you should also cover them with a blanket or similar (again, not plastic.)
6) The following morning, if temperatures are above 32 degrees F, remove coverings, ESPECIALLY black plastic nursery pots and buckets which can retain a lot of heat.
7) Don't worry about the foliage on emerging bulbs. They can hack it.
8) Steve, our nursery dept manager, says don't forget to feed the birdies (but feel free to kick the squirrels). Steve does not like squirrels.

No comments: